the forest at the heart of the world

In the hour before the storm, we went walking into the forest. The heavy, mossy air was just what I needed to breathe. There is such peace in a forest - not quiet, but the solace of being within the real world, rather than the world of artificial things.

I read today about the rescue of an elephant who had been enslaved for fifty years. The cruelty and beauty of humankind astounds me : the choices people make. And I read all the time stories like this of a whale choked to death by plastics. But in the forest, everything just is. There's pain, and suffering, but no malice.

As we walked, we saw evidence of damage done by the last great storm that came through a couple of months ago. Now a new one is here, and the forest will be battered some more. I keep writing sentences in this post and then erasing them. Try to be more positive, I tell myself. Where is the peace I gathered for myself in those shadowy quiet moments in the forest? Not gone, just wrapped in spiked chains. Outside, the consequences of climate change are battering at my window. In India, an elephant weeps for its freedom. And as we left the forest, we saw a homeless man huddling at the edge of a marsh, arranging for himself a dubious shelter.

It occurs to me, what good is peace? Why should I even value it? Perhaps the better thing is to seek love, outrage, compassion, determination, hope - more complicated emotions, but more alive to the truth of the world. Peace does not rescue an enslaved elephant, a broken indigent person, or an ocean turning rapidly into an acidic cesspool.


  1. Yes, you are right. Peace has its place but so does bravery, fierceness and action.

  2. hi sarah…can i have your email? otherwise i can only respond to you here about the question you left on my blog…which is fine, but i thought i'd ask :)

    1. sent you an email, and i will stop checking your blog for a reply there :-)

  3. peace comes because of those other things.

  4. thank you all for your comments :-)